[nfbmi-talk] mcb march 19 minutes won thru mi foia

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Thu Apr 15 00:14:43 UTC 2010

DRAFT                         DRAFT                                   DRAFT



MARCH 19, 2010







Ms. Jo Ann Pilarski, Chair              Ms. Velma Allen (via telephone) 

Mr. Michael Geno, Vice-Chair       Ms. Geri Taeckens      

Ms. Margaret Wolfe






Mr. Patrick Cannon                         Ms. Sue Luzenski

Mr. Leamon Jones                         Ms. Susan Turney       

Ms. Sherri Heibeck                         Ms. Christine Movalson        

Ms. Sue Chinault                            Mr. Bruce Schultz

Ms. Constance Zanger                  Ms. Julia Burdgick

Ms. Carla Haynes                           Ms. Amber Silvey

Mr. James Hull




Mr. Daniel Frye                               Mr. Joe Harcz

Mr. Larry Posont                             Ms. Roxanna Mann

Mr. Herb Grassow                          Mr. Geoffrey Krause

Ms. Michelle Carrington                 Ms. Christine Boone

Mr. Doug Boone                             Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke

Mr. George Wurtzel                        Mr. Matt McCubbin

Mr. Jason Meddaugh                     Mr. Michael Torrez

Mr. Paul Posont                              Mr. Larry Scott

Mr. Mike Ellis                                   Mr. Bob Rafferty

Mr., Mark Eagle                               Mr. Terry Eagle

Mr. Geer Wilcox                              Ms. Mary Wurtzel

Mr. Greg Keathley                          Mr. Fred Wurtzel

Mr. David Robinson                        Mr. Joe Sontag

Ms. Mary Ann Rogek                     Ms. Yvonne DeWitt

Mr. Bryan Sackrider                        Ms. Mae Kent

Ms. Shirley Wiles                            Ms. Phyllis Magbonua

Ms. Janet Wisswell                         Ms. Donna LePiors

Mr. Jerry Clay                                  Mr. Wayne LePiors

Ms. Terry Mahoney                        Ms. Paula Stevens

Ms. Debbie Huntley                        Ms. Daphne Johnson

Ms. Stenetta Burroughs                 Mr. Brian Brown

Ms. Michelle Crawford                   Ms. Mary Jenkins

Mr. Bennet Grass                           Mr. Adam Parker

Ms. Sarah Norwood                       Mr. Shane Jackson

Mr. James Chaney                         Ms. Chamille Jones

Ms. Crystal LaFleche                     Ms. Lydia Shook

Ms. Gwen Botting                           Mr. Greg Botting

Ms. Chris Barnard                           




The Committee of the Whole was called to order at 9:12 a.m. by Chair Jo Ann Pilarski.



           Ms. Margaret Wolfe attended the Diversity Committee in January.  A presentation was given by the Native American Business Alliance focusing on interactions between MCB staff and Native American groups. This person actively wants to work with MCB on diversity within the Native American groups and the presentation was very informative.  Commissioner Wolfe also said that it appears the sub regional library is doing well with becoming part of MCB and said she was saddened to hear about the sub regional library closing in Marquette.

          Commissioner Michael Geno met with MCB staff regarding partnering opportunities for the Computer Recycling for the Blind program.  A letter has been written outlining proposed procedures which will assist the program in getting computers to applicants.  This program is also collaborating with the MCB Training Center to explore having computers available in students' rooms.  

          Commissioner Geri Taeckens reported that she attended the Service Delivery Design Team.  Commissioner Taeckens also has been involved with the Quality Education Team (QET) and is promoting the upcoming 2nd Annual Braille-A-Thon to be held at the Capitol in June with fliers, posters and fundraisers.  She has served on the College Policy Committee which is on the agenda to be discussed later in this meeting.

          Commissioner Jo Ann Pilarski said that she has attended two Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team meetings since December.  She commended Sue Chinault for contributing and running a well organized library.  Commissioner Pilarski highlighted action plan updates including the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns (MCDC) losing staff which has delayed client survey results.  Also there had been discussion on how B E P Operators receive their point reports, which will be received on a quarterly basis.  She also spoke about the MCB Director's Performance Objectives for 2010 and indicated some of the objectives will be deferred and that the new objectives added focus on B E P and the planning of an all staff meeting including stakeholders, community partners, operators and consumers which will focus on reintroducing the agency's Vision 2020 Initiative to participants.  She also reported on the Elected Operator Committee (EOC) meetings she has attended and said she has been impressed with both staff and operators, the feeling of unity between operators and the spirit of cooperation among all participants.  

          Commissioner Geri Taeckens added she had attended an ad hoc meeting on MCB data systems focused on tracking college consumer information.  She identified team members and suggested consideration be given to adding a college student and a parent of a college student which would provide a different perspective.

          Commissioner Velma Allen joined the conference by telephone and informed participants that she will be resigning from the Commission due to her relocation to Alabama.  Commissioner Allen wished the best for everyone and stated she looks forward to a time when everyone can problem solve and come together with all constituent groups in a way that moves everyone forward.  

          Director Cannon expressed his regrets that Commissioner Allen would be unable to participate in this meeting so attendees could wish her well.  He and others shared their appreciation for Commissioner Allen's service on the Commission Board.  




          Commissioner Pilarski stated the current goals and objectives are appropriate for now and believes that future goals and objectives will arise during discussions at the all staff meeting to be held in June 2010.

          Commissioner Taeckens shared concern regarding the client survey on unsuccessful closures which has been put on hold and stops the agency from moving forward.  It has been three years since the beginning of the process and Ms. Taeckens asked for a timeline commitment from Director Cannon.

          Director Cannon agreed that this is an important project and noted that the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns (MCDC) lost one-half of their staff, and said MCDC has recommitted to moving this project forward.  He said the two progress reports to Commissioners last year on this initiative were helpful and said Commissioners can expect additional reports within the next several months.  

          Commissioner Wolfe said that she liked Objective three in regards to succession planning.  Director Cannon stated that the ad hoc committee for succession planning met for the first time March 17 and will continue to meet during the coming months.



          Commissioner Pilarski said that this topic is on the agenda because of frequent rumors of consolidation or merger with the general agency, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), especially in these very difficult economic times and also because of the changes in the Executive Branch and Legislature.  She said remaining a separate Agency is important because of issues related specifically to specialized services for the blind.    

Commissioner Taeckens spoke about the trend happening in other states and the candidate for Governor who is talking about merging MCB with MRS.  

          Commissioner Wolfe felt it was not yet necessary to begin a letter writing campaign on this issue.

          Commissioner Geno said it was important to keep the perspective that MCB is one of the best in the country and emphasized the necessity of unity.  He also stated that every time a person who is blind is successful it benefits the whole blind community.

          Director Cannon noted that rumors of merger or consolidation are not new and frequently surface many times a year.  He said that after speaking with 3 key officials in the Governors office who asserted that no such plans were under consideration he's satisfied that any threat of consolidation is not eminent.  He acknowledged that one potential candidate for Governor is looking at privatizing food service on the inter-state system which would be very harmful to the Commissions blind highway vendors.  MCB Staff met with MDOT and the Governor's Policy Team a few years ago and, although the idea seemed intriguing to MDOT and the Policy Team at first, after grasping the importance of highway vending to blind operators they were no longer pursuing this subject and said this issue has not been brought up again.  

Commissioner Pilarski referred to a document developed in 2002 that spoke of MCB and MRS remaining separate agencies. She then asked that the President's of both consumer organizations comment on this subject.

          Mr. Larry Posont, National Federation of the Blind of Michigan (NFBM) commented on an agreement created by the NFB-M and Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) in 2003 on keeping separate agencies which identified 9 areas of concern.  Mr. Posont also referred to a study that Mississippi State University completed on separate agencies and initial analysis indicates that keeping separate agencies is best.  

          Director Cannon noted that Mississippi State University (the other MSU) did issue the report and its resulting data confirms that blind individuals served by a separate agency are finding employment 82% of the time compared to 57% in a combined agency.

          Mr. Joe Sibley, MCBVI, stated that their organization will stand with others to support MCB as a separate agency.  Commissioner Taeckens and Commissioner Geno said they appreciate positive information about the effectiveness of separate agencies and urged supportive comments about specialized services for the blind.  Commissioner Geno commended the staff on its communications and public awareness activities.



          Commissioner Pilarski stated that NFB-M has requested more public comment be put on commission meeting agendas.  An initial idea was to have 2 public comments in the morning related to morning issues only and an afternoon public comment geared to those issues on the afternoon agenda.  A question has already arose about whether the Board can limit public comment to one specific agenda item or items on the agenda during a specific time frame.  Director Cannon reported that the Open Meetings Act (OMA) expects public comment to be on the agenda, but limiting public comment to specific items on the agenda may be debatable.  The Attorney General's office suggested that, generally speaking, limiting public comment to a particular topic is not advisable.

          Commissioner Taeckens asked about the possibility of encouraging participants to speak about a certain topic.

          Commissioner Geno said that when a group is dealing with a forum such as this meeting it is out of tradition to restrict topics of discussion.  He stated the two issues he can see are the legal aspect of limiting public comment and the common courtesy aspect of allowing public comment as decided by the Chair.  

          There was discussion about the possibility of impromptu public comment being called and this was left up to the discretion of the Chair.

          Commissioner Pilarski reiterated the need for participants to speak respectfully without calling out people by name.  She also reserved the right to call for a public comment during a particular issue where comment from the audience would be helpful.  

          Commissioner Taeckens proposed possibly scheduling two or three public comments knowing that more opportunities may arise directed at a particular topic.  

          Commissioner Geno stated that he would support as much public comment as can be managed.  He also stated that he would like to have public comments that are not repetitious, be constructive and reflect both sides of an issue.  

          Commissioner Taeckens asserted that the Board cannot control public comment.

          Commissioner Pilarski asked for Larry Posont and Joe Sibley to comment on this discussion.

          Mr. Posont stated that public comment is an ongoing issue and said he would like to have public comment before a Board vote is taken on an action item.

          Mr. Sibley agreed that public comment is critical and stated that, for consumers, it is not just a privilege but an obligation to express opinions.  

          Further discussion included having three public comments and a floating public comment as directed by the Chair.  Commissioner Geno stated that public comment times could be most effective when all participants made prudent and efficient use of their time when raising issues.  



          Ms. Luzenski reported there were no issues or questions from the previous meeting.

          Commissioner Geno asked if audio streaming quality can be checked on a periodic basis.  Ms. Luzenski shared that staff checks audio streaming so that we are informed of how it is working.  Mike Ellis commented that he is currently working on the internet connection to correct the volume issue but the phone option is working fine.  



          Commissioner Taeckens asked for a Board discussion regarding programming and whether policies need to be established or existing policies need to be looked at regarding what is considered rehabilitative programs and what is considered recreational opportunities.  For example, unless someone wanted to be a sky diver she doesn't see skydiving as a rehabilitative program and certainly does not think that MCB should have sponsored any portion of this program.  She asked how programs are funded and asked if there is a process for approving such activities and, if not, one should be created.

          Director Cannon explained that there is, indeed, a process in place and it begins with MCB's Executive Management Team, which includes the Consumer Services Director, Training Center Director, Administrative Services Manager, Rehabilitation Consultant, Library for the Blind Manager, Director's Management Assistant and the Director.  These participants bring ideas to the table for discussion whether they come from themselves or from MCB staff, consumers or stakeholders.  Items requiring a policy would come before the Board.  Director Cannon said that the MCB Training Center is not a career training center and elaborated on the function of the Commission's Training Center as an orientation and adjustment center, a place to be taught the skills of blindness, to learn that it is okay to be blind, to raise expectations and to gain confidence. 

          Discussion focused on liability issues, where to draw the line regarding classes, being cognizant of how funds are spent and the impression this may leave with the general public and integration of blind people into all segments of society with regard to recreational activities.  


Break at 10:30


Reconvene:  10:45




          The regular meeting was called to order by Chair Jo Ann Pilarski at 10:45 a.m.  Roll call was taken and a quorum was present.  Commissioner Allen was not present

          Guests in the room introduced themselves.



Commissioner Wolfe moved to accept the December 11, 2009 minutes as corrected; supported WITH CORRECTIONS by Commissioner Taeckens

          Commissioner Taeckens asked that public comment made by Elizabeth Mohnke regarding the college policy be more fully reflected.  She also asked that during Leamon Jones' report when she asked specific questions about data on MCB college students and he was unable to respond fully that the minutes reflect this also.

          Commissioner Geno asked that a line be added during his comment regarding lunch "I pledged to, if this happens again, suffer with those involved the same consequences of not being able to get lunch."

          Commissioner Wolfe amended her motion to reflect these changes.






Commissioner Taeckens raised the concern that there was a lot of discussion during this meeting and a lot wasn't reflected.  There was questions raised about the Operator being successful in his previous employment and that the P.A. had not been attending to his needs. She proposed to add that the Operator had been successful in his previous location.

          Commissioner Geno amended his motion to reflect these changes.

          Commissioner Pilarski stated that as Chair she reserves the right to not vote unless necessary but not have it be seen as an abstention.  She would like the minutes to reflect that, if she had voted on the January 19 ALJ recommendation, she would have voted "no."









          Ms. Luzenski reported on several pieces of board correspondence received:

1.                Joe Harcz regarding DELEG Policies and Procedures on Accessible Events 

2.                Joe Harcz regarding By-Laws and Minutes to the Commissioners 

3.                Joe Harcz regarding the recently approve MCB Board By-Laws

4.                Larry Posont regarding analysis items listed of March 19th Agenda


The Board & Mr. Harcz brought to the attention of Ms. Luzenski that more board correspondence was received.  Ms. Luzenski indicated that she would review correspondence received during the break and present her findings after lunch.




          Chair Pilarski noted that there was a statement submitted by the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) and asked that it be read at the end of public comment.


          Ms. Michelle Carrington stated she was wondering why the marksmen class should only be done on recreational time when there are craft classes and computer cables into dorm rooms.  She stated students should have the right to choose what they want and that the class should be offered and left up to the student to decide.


          Mr. George Wurtzel encouraged the Commission Board to ask the Department of Education about the inaccessibility of one section of the MEAP test administered in Michigan schools this year.  A second section was read aloud to students.  He shared that it was the Commissions responsibility to question the Department of Education regarding the education received for blind students.


          Ms. Roxanna Mann, a student at the Training Center, thanked Director Cannon for recruiting and hiring Christine Boone as she felt it was a wise decision.  She stated she feels privileged to be there, it's a well-run facility and the training and staff are wonderful.  She was part of the marksmen class and got a bullseye her second time out and said this was a life skill which boosted her.  The marksmen class was closely monitored by staff and appropriately controlled.  Because of this class she will become active in this venue.


          Mr. Joe Harcz stated that the Commission is required to follow Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504.  This includes having Braille and raised signage on every permanent room including room numbers.  Mr. Harcz shared that this building has non-compliant signage, none of the exits or stairways are marked.  The violation of these civil rights laws are an act of discrimination.  Mr. Harcz stated he receives compliance from his local school board regarding ADA laws and the Open Meetings Act but does not receive the same consideration from the Commission.


          Mr. J.J. Meddaugh, a former student assistant at the Training Center, said that when he worked there the students were going to concerts, sporting events, movies, plays, skydiving, marksmen class and trips to Chicago.  These were confidence building and personal growth experiences.  Since the Training Center Director has been fired students are afraid to speak up for themselves and strongly discouraged to invite NFB members to the Center and attend this Commission meeting.  Mr. Meddaugh asked participants to visit the Training Center and see the change from a program that promoted independence and freedom but is now filled with oppression and silence.


          Ms. Phyllis McBaun, a former Training Center student, asked if money spent on trips to Chicago might be better spent on lifestyle learning.  She said money should be used to learn life skills not for shooting guns.


          Mr. Terry Eagle reported that there are three blind people running for state office and they can be supported by campaign contributions.  Mr. Eagle reference Commissioner Geno's comments earlier in regards to public comment not being repetitious and said that each statement is like it's own letter regarding one issue.  Mr. Eagle touched upon the issues of more Commission meetings needed for the Board to discuss multiple issues, time and money constraints but yet the Commission goes off-site for meetings denying a B E P Operator of a catering opportunity, the Training Center classes helping newly blinded people gain confidence and Orientation and Mobility instruction should be moved to people's home community.


          Mr. Mark Eagle spoke about the Commission Board needing more meetings as having four a year isn't enough time for adequate representation and oversight of the program and its consumers.  He stated that with no representation there is no government.


          Chair Pilarski asked Director Cannon to comment on the Executive Directive regarding not having more meetings.


          Director Cannon said there are multiple Executive Directives issued on spending reductions and one in particular states the need to reduce all but essential State travel and expenditures and noted that some other Boards and commissions meet only two or three times a year.


          Mr. Jeff Krause, a student of the Training Center who lost his sight later in life, used to be an avid shooter and the marksmen class brought back a piece of him that was missing.  


          Mr. David Ellingwood who has been going to meetings at the City Council has been pressing for detectible signals, although he has come across them in city of Kalamazoo.


          Ms. Michelle Carrington commented that the skydiving class that wasn't held was not costing the State anything but the students were to pay $250.


          Mr. Fred Wurtzel stated he was glad there were three public comments.  He encouraged Commissioners who were questioning the need for the recreational activities to read a book called Freedom for the Blind by James Omvig, which is all about training centers.  Mr. Wurtzel would be willing to supply copies.  He said that Michigan has a deep rooted culture in hunting and having that capability back restores a sense of worth and causes a person to look around and wonder what else they can do.  He commented on the level of intimidation and bullying of Christine Boone and Center staff, and students told they are not allowed to come to Lansing.. He advised Commissioner Pilarski that she can call a special meeting and invite the people and they can help to provide programs for blind people.


          Mr. Joe Sontag stated that he was sure the Director could persuade the Governor to help overcome the funding barriers being discussed.  He said a BEP position was filled when it was not an immediate issue during a statewide hiring freeze so funding for a few extra meetings should not be a problem.


          After the public comment session ended, Commissioner Pilarski asked Susan Turney to read a statement issued by Mario Morrow, Communications Director for the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, which stated that Christine Boone filed an action against the Department protesting her dismissal due to her unauthorized planning and implementation of a marksman class at the Center which was in direct conflict with a civil service work rule.  The Department stated that it will vigorously defend its action. 



          Mr. Larry Posont, President, National Federation of the Blind, thanked the Commissioners and stated that NFB-M was going to use this time differently than in the past.  He stated they have 3 position papers to be read to the Board that they encourage the Commission to adopt to make it the strongest that it can be when serving blind children and adults in the State of Michigan.  He noted that there are 4 documents that NFB feels are the most important.

          Mr. Posont spoke on resolutions passed at the NFB-M convention last November.  First is college policy and the Federation urges Commissioners to reject the policy that's on the agenda and to revisit the policy development with more consumer participation.  The other issue is training for Commission staff.  NFB-M feels that extensive training for existing and new staff is vital because of all of the impending retirements.

          Mr. Mike Powell, Vice-President of NFB-M read the NFB-M position on the marksmanship class at the Training Center.  He explained that NFB-M believes that blind people should have equal access to the use of guns and target practice.  He added that in Michigan hunting and target practice is a popular recreational activity enjoyed throughout the State by both sighted and blind individuals and, accordingly, the opportunities offered to Training Center students for target practice at the Center was appropriate and well planned.  He said that the Training Center Director and her staff were thoughtful and careful in the design and implementation of the class and that her dismissal by the agency Director was inappropriate.  He elaborated on the importance of the class and all of the safety precautions that were taken into consideration of the development of the class.  He said the class provided an important training opportunity for blind persons to learn again how they can enjoy the sport of firearms and that the abrupt cancellation of the class was unwarranted and a violation of the civil rights of blind individuals.  He concluded his presentation by stating that the cancellation of the class was contrary to the Commission's claim that it supports blind persons abilities to pursue their dreams.

          Ms. Maryann Rojak, read an open letter to Chair Pilarski and Peter Plummer regarding the B E P program and how the program and it's operators have been harmed through the hearings process administered by the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (SOAHR).  The number of hearings and the chaotic nature of these proceedings are symptomatic of the directionless administration. NFB-M is asking for an immediate investigation into the propriety and legality of the tactics and practices of the Commission for the Blind staff and the Administrative Law Judges (ALJ).  NFB-M is concerned about recent practices where the same ALJ is reviewing a majority of the grievances filed and the result has been recommendations going against the legitimate complaints of B E P operators.  In the Federations letter to Mr. Plummer they called for a review of all cases adjudicated by Judge Robert Meade and to rehear each case under acceptable rules according to the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act.  Other issues listed in the letter to Mr. Plummer include:

1.                Lack of fair and full evidentiary hearing of vendor grievances;

2.                "ALJ shopping" and undue political influence by the Agency Director;

3.                B E P staff failing to make requested relevant documents available;

4.                the halting of B E P paying for hearing transcripts for arbitration appeal;

5.                The B E P manager attaching a staff recommendation to ALJ decisions;

6.                B E P's failure to notify vendors and vendor representatives when grievances are to go before the Commission Board;

7.                MCB Hearings Coordinator refusing to communicate directly the appointed non-attorney vendor representatives;

8.                B E P staff placing untrained, uncertified sighted persons in vending facilities as temporary operators;

9.                B E P employment practices;

10.           B E P financial issues;


          The third NFB-M document presented to Commissioners addressed the role of Commissioners as defined in Public Act 260 of 1978, the law which created the Commission.  The document underscores the power that Commissioners have in the overall running of the agency and setting policy and direction in its service delivery.


          The fourth document presented to Commissioners provided the NFB-M analysis of Public Act 260 and identified several areas where the Commission and its staff were not adhering to the dictates of the law.  Mr. Posont said that although time did not permit the full reading of all the documents to the Commissioners at this meeting, all materials would be posted on the website of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan and urged everyone to review the materials in their entirety at their website.


          In his final remarks to Commissioners, Mr. Posont said that Commissioners needed to step up to their responsibilities under the statute and said that the Federation would continue to monitor the progress being made and would return at each quarterly commission meeting and will continue to make its case that the Commission board and staff must be responsive to the needs of blind people or the Federation would promote the appointment of others who would. 


Recessed for lunch at 12:20 p.m.

The meeting reconvened at 1:25 p.m.


Board Correspondence

          Ms. Luzenski presented five additional pieces of board correspondence to be presented:

1.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding a request for accessible proposed or draft MCB Board minutes on an ongoing basis pursuant to obligations under the Michigan Open Meetings Act with corollary accommodations pursuant to the ADA and Section 504.

2.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding request for accessible proposed and approved MCB Consumer Involvement Council Meeting minutes on an ongoing basis pursuant to obligations under the Michigan Open Meetings Act with corollary accommodations pursuant to the ADA and Section 504.

3.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding a specific request for proposed minutes December 11, 2009

4.                Mr. Joe Harcz amended request for proposed minutes December 11, 2009

5.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding a question about a reference in the Annual Report on the Area Agencies on Aging



          Mr. Joe Sibley, President of MCBVI and Casey Dutmer, former President of MCBVI represented the organization.  Mr. Sibley introduced his wife Mary.  

          Mr. Sibley spoke on the firearms issue at the Training Center stating that he believes in the rights of blind people to participate in shooting sports in a safe manner but he also asserted that an off-site location may have been a better choice for this class. Mr. Sibley said that Director Cannon has taken a lot of heat on this issue and he is saddened that Christine Boone was dismissed. He said that he doesn't believe that Director Cannon singled out any one organization or that his action was not appropriate.  Mr. Dutmer added that the adversarial tone of today's meeting could have been avoided and suggested that the dialogue process from the Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team should have been utilized for discussions today.

          Mr. Sibley provided an overview of MCBVI and explained that the organization is affiliated nationally with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and said there are 6 chapters around the state with 45 members in Grand Rapids and the organization is hoping to add more chapters in the future.  In his update of MCBVI activities and future plans, Mr. Sibley noted that current events include launching new youth activities, advocating for Braille literacy and said MCBVI will be supporting the Braille-A-Thon in June.  The MCBVI annual conference was held last October and was audio streamed with keynote speaker Ken Medema.  The next MCBVI State Convention will be in Grand Rapids in October 2010.  The 2011 convention will be held in Lansing.  Mr. Sibley reported that the MCBVI website has been redone.  The American Council of the Blind national conference will be held in July in Phoenix.  

          Mr. Sibley reported that MCBVI continues to actively support and promote the MoPix project, which provides audio description for blind theater goers with installations in Grand Rapids and Lansing movie theaters.  Format issues are being worked out because of the switch to digital.  

          Mr. Sibley congratulated Sue Chinault, of the Library for the Blind and shared his love of the new digital player.

          Mr. Dutmer commented on results of the organization's advocacy efforts, including the Social Security Administration now offering information in accessible format in Braille or on a CD.  He also said they're asking people to call their local congressman to endorse a new bill, HR3101 which gives more video description options and emergency announcements, such as those from the National Weather Service.  There are also three bills in various stages regarding public transportation in Michigan.

          Mr. Sibley encouraged newly blind or visually impaired people to examine both consumer organizations.  He congratulated Larry Posont on becoming President of the NFB and also encouraged participants to use the new AutoMark machines for voting.  

          Mr. Dutmer also mentioned a retreat that is happening the next day with Commissioners and stated he hoped that the meeting would be constructive and some resolution is reached so all can move forward.

          Commissioner Taeckens asked about the progress of the accessible currency issue.  Mr. Dutmer reported on the ACB suit and said that various approaches to achieve accessibility are being tested and noted that other countries accessible currency are being looked at to determine what the best process is to be utilized.

          Director Cannon added that the courts ordered a phase-in of the accessible currency mandate.  Adding the one dollar bill will remain the same and other currency notes will be formatted differently so that they may be discerned from each other.  

          Mr. Sibley added one last thing, that when he became blind the best thing he ever did was get involved in one of the consumer groups.


Commissioner Taeckens made a motioned that Director Cannon propose a new policy about how new programming is developed and implemented within the Agency; commissioner geno seconded the motion


Commissioner Geno asked that Director Cannon respond to this proposal.  Director Cannon explained that there are many ways to develop new programs, activities and policies, including the Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team, Service Delivery Design Team and the Consumer Involvement Council and said that ideas can come from any staff member within the organization.   Many teams within the organization are involved in the process and the agency is always open and inclusive. 

Commissioner Geno asked Commissioner Taeckens to clarify her motion.  She said her purpose is not to bog down the process or eliminate spontaneity but she is asking for a written process that necessitates approval from multiple people.  Commissioner Wolfe stated that before making a decision she would need more information, possibly this could be tabled until the next Commission meeting.




          Commissioner Pilarski asked that Director Cannon and Commissioner Taeckens discuss this issue.




          George Orwell submitted written comments via email, he said he thinks the budget must be looked at.  Also as an outsider, his eyes have been opened to the diverse capabilities & interests of limited people.  He states they are not different than me, just follow different avenue to complete steps.  Mr. Orwell sees educating the general public as a charge designated to the Commission for the Blind.  


          Timothy Paulding wrote that he believes it was a mistake to dismiss Christine Boone as she was an asset in so many ways.  Blind students were encouraged to get out and about in the community-to apply the skills they learned at the center in real life situations. Students were encouraged to ride the bus, figure out their way around town and get involved in the community. The Center became a place where students became empowered through skills of blindness. Students were expected to participate in their world as first class citizens and they were treated as such. Sighted guide was discouraged, up-to-date technology was purchased and new curriculums were implemented as well.   Mr. Paulding stated that Christine did a great deal for the blind of Michigan.  He felt the fire-arm issue was a hoax. He asked to know what the real story was and requested Commissioners to get to the bottom of this.  


          Kim Walsh greeted all participants in her written submission and thanked the Commission for the opportunity to participate in public comment via email.  Ms. Walsh stated she would like to see the Commission offer public comment by phone as she has participated in other conferences this way and would like to see the Commission pursue all avenues of remote participation.


          Greg Botting, a student, spoke on the college policy focusing on three issues: college students with multiple disabilities, the 5 year time limit for college completion and analysis of the request to attend community college.  He stated that MCB eliminating certain regulations in the college policy would make it easier for students with multiple disabilities as there is no understanding of the disabilities or personal circumstances.  Mr. Botting cited the 5 year policy as unfair because even sighted students take longer for college completion.  A time limit will only hurt, not help, the blind community.  Lastly he spoke on community college not working for everyone.  He believes MCB needs to explain why community college is better.


          Ms. Gwen Botting shared that she felt the college policy was difficult to understand and that it contradicts itself.  Secondly, she has concerns about the playing field not being level and asked why MCB does not embrace part-time students as an option not taking into account family or personal circumstances, chronic illness or multiple disabilities.  She stated adopting guidelines which lays out special circumstances would be preferable to letting the Consumer Services Director making a case by case decision.  MCB could adopt guidelines to monitor yearly progress in attempts to allow variations in programs.  If students passed their preparatory exam, the next step allows them summer exposure on a college campus with residential facilities so students can show they have the capabilities of being on their own or not.  The financial aid section is confusing and could be interpreted in different ways and the graduate program section is troubling because if you can find a job with a bachelor degree you could be denied graduate studies.


          Mr. Joe Harcz stated that he will be filing a complaint with the Department of Justice on the issue of signage in the Victor building and filing complaints with the Department of Civil Rights and Department of Education on the issue of receiving accessible minutes in a timely manner.  Mr. Harcz invited everyone in the room who is blind to join him in filing an ADA complaint on the lack of signage in the room.  He also spoke about the issue of being a combined or separate commission which he stated he has always fought for a separate commission.  The Board is supposed to be autonomous and consumer driven and supervise key personnel but a blended agency with a statewide counsel might be more responsive at this time.


          Ms. Lydia Schuck, the mother of a blind child with multiple disabilities, the former President of Parents of Blind Children and a member of the Consumer Involvement Council brought issues forward about the college policy.   She asked for a design which prepares for long term proposal, universal design which addresses multiple means of presentation, response, assessment and accessibility.  She said the Lansing State Journal had a recent article stating that 50% of students finish college in 4 years or less and these are not people with disabilities who have to deal with issues of getting books, transportation and funding.  The professional counselors should be allowed to work out with the consumers to determine how long it may take them to finish college.  She finished by quoting a teen who is blind and autistic which has a higher incidence than 1%, "Mom I'm just going to need more time than everyone else, I just need more time."


          Mr. Fred Wurtzel stated the college policy has been a tumultuous process that has seen one commissioner kicked off the Commission Board, lack of respect from Commission staff toward Commissioners during public meetings advocating for a concrete position the Commission seems to hold, time length is one issue and holding the students harmless under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), but this still doesn't address the issue of MCB stepping in when there is conflict between the student and the school.  Another question arose about graduate degrees which would allow consumers to gain good jobs when the commission should be providing the maximum services instead of the minimum.  He felt the policy needed to be thrown out and started all over to assist blind people in achieving their maximum independence.


          Mr. Terry Eagle spoke about an attempt to take his microphone from him during morning public comment.  He did not appreciate this happening and it showed a lack of respect.  He said the open letter that was read this morning about the B E P did not surprise him, and that Casey Dutmer even agreed that these issues have lingered for years.  Mr. Eagle also responded to Commissioner comments on feeling threatened and he said that they should view his statements as promises, not threats, and reiterated his promise to take whatever action is necessary to make the Board do what is supposed to do.


          Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke, a current college student who has spent hours listening to the college policy meetings which tend to focus on sentence structure instead of the issues at hand.  These issues include time limits, Memo of Understanding (MOU's), informed choice where students are directed to go the MCB Training Center for the college assessment instead of giving students a choice.  Also the MOU's state that during a period of conflict between the student and the college it is the Commissions responsibility to fulfill the students' needs until the conflict is resolved and she stated that she doesn't see this happening.  She said that education is a good way to combat the slump in the economy and it appears that MCB is putting up barriers to allowing the most effective education for their consumers.


          Mr. J. J. Meddaugh asked why transportation from the Training Center for students was not provided by Center staff so that students from the Center may have attended.  Students need to be allowed active involvement in these meetings.


          Chair Pilarski thanked everyone for their public comments.



Commissioner Taeckens, Ms. Crystal LaFleche and Mr. Leamon Jones, on behalf of Sherry Gordon were present as representatives of the College Policy group.


          Commissioner Taeckens thanked all the participants who were involved in the meetings and said that it has been a long tedious process.  She also thanked Director Cannon and Leamon Jones for their participation in the meeting held on January 29.  Despite those efforts, she said that she's unhappy with the latest product of their work and stated that she's not supporting the college completion timeline as it's written.  She stated that she was the only opposing person, she finds it discriminatory and segregating within one disability.  Her other concerns include advocating for community colleges over a 4 year college, cumbersome writing, and having original policy committee members editing this document.  


Ms. Crystal LaFleche stated that she felt the committee tried their best and is open to suggestions.


          Commissioner Pilarski asked other Commissioners to weigh in.  Commissioner Wolfe stated it appears the 5 year time limit is still an unresolved issue.  The students that will be following this policy have already been admitted to the University or community college and she believes it's a disservice to all students to assume they can't succeed without having a document stating all of their options.  She said she believes that no students have been denied an extension of services or services in general.  She reiterated that students have been encouraged to submit proposed policy changes in writing, saying that if someone wants something different in the policy write it down and submit it to the committee.


          Commissioner Taeckens said that consumer services are provided under their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) which should be the guiding document for the timeline and the definition of goals and how to accomplish them.  Commissioner Taeckens stated that the agency has insufficient data on college students, their services and experiences.  She said MCB needs to gather and analyze more data to help drive wise and informed policy revisions.  


          Commissioner Geno said that all public comment on this issue was very well stated, which was helpful to him and asked if the concerns being raised were more hypothetical than real?  The lack of complete data prevents the agency from knowing how much of the current problems are due to the existing policy.  He stated that there are serious concerns still remaining that do not seem to be addressed in the latest draft and, as such, said he doesn't support the policy as presented.  He asserted that the process is still a struggle and he believes that it should be opened up a bit to generate more trust in the process.


          Mr. Leamon Jones thanked the Commissioners for giving him the opportunity to comment.  This review has been a two year process and the current policy does need some changes.  He noted that staff utilizes the principles of "plan, do, study, act" (PDSA) and Mr. Jones stated he does not think any staff member would act punitively towards a consumer, they would strive instead to find a solution.   This draft document offers a framework everyone can work within, while additional data is collected and assessed.  Starting over would cause another two-year delay.         


Director Cannon stated that on January 29th when all parties left the table there was thought to be a consensus on the existing document so it is frustrating to find out otherwise.  Director Cannon has been speaking with Dr. Fred Schroeder, a previous RSA Commissioner and agency director, about the time line issue.  Director Cannon said that he and Dr. Schroeder agree that having a policy which suggests that it may take twice as long for a blind student to do something sends a wrong message to Commission consumers and the employer community.  Moreover, it is antithetical to what MCB has been preaching to potential employers - that blind persons in the workplace are just as capable and productive as their sighted counterparts, that blind people want to compete for jobs based on what they can do, making necessary accommodations along the way.  This high expectation has resulted in many of MCB clients being employed.  


Director Cannon emphasized that having high expectations of what blind people can do is core to what the Commission is all about and encourages blind people to reach for higher goals.  He also explained that policy language regarding exceptions being decided by the Consumer Services Director is to preserve consistency within the program.  Dr. Schroeder believes that the policy as written is reasonable as long as the window for exceptions remains open.  He also noted that Crystal is representing blind consumers, as she is head of the MCB Consumer Involvement Council, which selected her to be their representative on the college policy committee and also noted that she is still a current Commission client and college student.


Commissioner Geno hoped for realistic expectations and a developed plan that is a compromise that everyone is happy with.


          Commissioner Taeckens responded that Fred Schroeder is not a MCB Commissioner and he is not a consumer of the Commission.  Opinions can be found lots of places and feedback is that the timeline is not appropriate.  A wording proposal that has been made is the Commission encourages students to not extend their timeline beyond the one year, if other circumstances exist timelines should be determined by the I P E.  There are many things in the policy that are fine but the timeline policy should be reworded to be more compromising and the wording for the 4 year college and the community college should be deleted.  She also wants to add language that says that if the MOU does not come through then the Commission would be responsible and stated that she would support the policy with those changes.


Ms. Crystal LaFleche stated that she does support this policy, it has been worked on very diligently for a very long time by two separate work groups.  She also noted that through this process, many changes have been made, but not all ideas can be accommodated.  She added that while there may still be concerns about the proposed policy, the new policy could be adopted and the Commission could start collecting data and collect information from students and counselors to see if there remains some tweaking to be done.  The old policy is 20 years old and needs to be updated.


Commissioner Pilarski asked how this policy has been improved over the last one.

          Ms. LaFleche stated it is definitely longer and provides a little more specific items, including financial aid, how degrees work and addresses the subject of advanced degrees.  


Mr. Jones addressed some of Commissioner Taeckens comments.  He stated that much of the data is collected already but it needs to be formulated together.  The I P E does outline the goals and objectives and the services timeline which can be reviewed to determine how long it can take for completion of school.  If a student doesn't believe they can finish in that timeline this is generally discussed with their counselor.  The agreements that exist with the institutions of higher education are RSA mandated agreements and does contain provisions to address the process to deal with issues.


Commissioner Pilarski stated that the comments of others reflect her sentiments.  She saw redundancy, wording issues, and procedures that look like notes.  There is no patronizing verbiage in this document and the sentence of high expectations rubs her the wrong way.  This has been a source of contention since the beginning.  There has been a lot of messing around with words and the feeling of resistance.  The timeline is a big issue along with the financial issue.  Ms. Pilarski stated that she wants a document that states that MCB will pick up the financial burden if necessary.  Another issue is the full time status because there are so many reasons why people can't go full time.  Summertime should be an option. The decision needs to be made in regards to going back to the drawing table or having a special meeting to go through this bit by bit.


Commissioner Geno stated that the best message we can send is a blind person graduating from college.  The decision needs to be made on whether this is going to be approved or it will be sent back to be worked on.




Commissioner Taeckens proposed a work day, by phone and wants to ensure that a student and a parent are a part of this process.  Discussion included a timeline so this process doesn't go on another 2 years; a meeting with too many people could bog the process down; possibly hiring a facilitator from outside the Agency; should representation be open; and starting with a new proposed document that is less wordy.  

Commissioner Pilarski asked both consumer Presidents to make a brief comment about their thoughts on making this happen.  Ms. Botting stated there is a lot of value in having a Saturday meeting and including multiple people.  Parents weren't involved in drafting the last version and the parent perspective would be an asset.

Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke spoke on behalf of NFB-M and stated that not everyone is included and large groups can have harder times of accomplishing things.  An idea would be for sub-groups to get together with a certain makeup of people and work on either one section of the policy as a whole and then come together as a group to edit the document. 


Mr. Joe Sibley commented that MCBVI would definitely participate if there was a meeting scheduled on this topic.  


Commissioner Taeckens summed up that people bring in all of their ideas and work on them together.  

Mr. Fred Wurtzel shared the idea of everyone posting their ideas on the internet before the meeting is scheduled so when people arrive at the meeting the information has been reviewed and the document is ready to be worked on.  Ideas that came forth were a Facebook page, a webpage, or the listserve.  


Commissioner Geno asked if there was an email account that could be used to centralize the gathering of information.  


Ms. Luzenski indicated she could create a gmail account.  Commissioner Geno also stated there should be a deadline.  Commissioner Taeckens volunteered to be a coordinator of this information.  A possible date for a joint college policy meeting would be June 19.


Discussion regarding hiring a facilitator centered around pulling together multiple options to choose from, Commissioner Geno being in that role or securing a volunteer facilitator.





          Constance Zanger, Business Enterprise Program Manager introduced James Chaney, Elected Operator Committee Chair and gave participants and update on the B E P.

          Ms. Zanger reported on the upcoming B E P manager training class to be held in April with 6 participants and the Summer Work Opportunity Program which will again be held for 12 weeks this summer.  Last summer 13 operators participated in this mentoring program and B E P staff is hoping to have at least that many for the upcoming program.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will conduct a national training conference on the Randolph-Sheppard program this year, the first in a decade.  This conference will highlight the significant program developments, federal changes as well as state licensing staff, elected committee representative, and changes that have occurred in the last decade.  

The purpose of this conference is to bring Randolph-Sheppard stakeholders together with a goal of developing leadership skills, educating participants on promising practices and creating an environment for the exchange of ideas that will help shape the future of the Randolph-Sheppard program.  


The next 2010 B E P Operators' Workshop will take place on April 30, May 1 and 2 in Lansing at the Ramada Inn on West Saginaw.  The Workshop Subcommittee and the E O C have been working to develop their agenda and this year's workshop will feature remarks from Director Cannon, V R Director Leamon Jones, an instructional session on the new B E P evaluation form and the new trial inventory policy.  The afternoon session will feature a mini food show which runs concurrently with the E O C election and later in the afternoon, operators and staff will present an interactive workshop session on catering.

Commissioner Pilarski will be present at the workshop and       B E P staff welcomes all Commissioners who wish to attend all or any portion of the workshop.  


Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Recommendation


          Ms. Zanger submitted the recommended ALJ decision for Ron Fellows.  Commissioner Wolfe felt this decision was straight forward.  Commissioner Geno didn't understand what the intended outcome was for bringing the challenge forward.  

 Commissioner Taeckens stated that she felt it was considered "moot" because Mr. Fellows was no longer working at that location.  Her questions were why it took a year to get a letter to the Cadillac Place building.  Commissioner Taeckens stated she felt threatened by a meeting participant for his unsolicited comments during her questioning.

Commissioner Wolfe said that she has reviewed B E P rules and the B E P operations manual to better understand the role of Commissioners when ALJ recommendations are brought before the Board.  According to this guidance, she said it's clear that Commissioners role is to make their decision based upon the facts gathered by the ALJ and it is not the role of Commissioners to retry the case before the Board.

Commissioner Taeckens voiced her concerns that the ALJ recommendation and background document does not provide sufficient information for her to make a sound decision.

          Commissioner Pilarski summed up this situation as Ron Fellows left this site because of an issue at this site and said that he is an operator in good standing and the issue itself needs to be looked at, she stated she doesn't believe it is a moot point.

          Mr. James Chaney commented on the issue as the current operator at the site in question and said that, in his opinion, Mr. Fellows got fed up because the rules are not being followed.  The people in Cadillac Place give off a sense of mocking the operators.  Being competitive isn't the issue but when the operators have one set of rules for catering and the other food service places have different rules the operators are constantly undercut.       These issues are going to keep coming up until they can be dealt with more openly and honestly.

          Commissioner Wolfe asked if some of the issues Mr. Chaney is referring to will be discussed at the retreat.

          Commissioner Taeckens stated that because Mr. Fellows left the location doesn't make this an invalid issue.  Commissioner Geno stated he is interested in the recommendation of the law judge and asked if the Board rejected the ALJ recommendation would that mean the Commission is saying that this issue is or is not an ongoing problem.

          Commissioner Taeckens asked what James Chaney wants to happen if the Board went against the recommendation and he replied that the ALJ recommendation should be tabled so the Board can have time to gather the facts. 

          Commissioner Geno attempted to clarify what the purpose was for bringing this issue to the ALJ when Mr. Fellows had already left this sight.  





          Commissioner Pilarski stated that she would like to see more documentation in the future about these ALJ recommendations and a more balanced report from the ALJ.







Mr. James Chaney, Chair of the Elected Operators Committee spoke about needing to move forward.  Ideas have come forward that it is taking too long for due process and operators believe there should be a stipend put in to protect the operators and the program.

Another item that the EOC is working on is a focus group that would include the operators, building managers, and Commission staff that would focus on presentation, menus, and how to conduct a successful catering.  This would allow more revenue to be brought into the program and result in more match money.  Vending stand training is another issue to help operators get back to feeling good about working.

Commissioner Taeckens raised the lack of accessibility of vending machines.  The numbers are Brailed but there is no indication of what items the numbers correspond to.






As the Commission's Administrative Reports were about to begin, Mr. Larry Posont, President of NFB of Michigan, suggested that the reports be deferred and that Public Comments be heard next.




          Commissioner Geno pointed out that staff is giving up their time for reports to allow public comment.




          Mr. Greg Botting stated he isn't an expert on B E P, and it seems to be the standard work program for the blind in the State, but the B E P program is not going to work for everyone.  He also stated that the Randolph-Sheppard law is discriminatory against sighted folks.


          Mr. Fred Wurtzel commented that he gets a lot enjoyment out of working with and hearing from young people.  While he doesn't have a lot of sympathy for sighted people Greg Botting is right that the law is discriminatory but it is the law.  Mr. Wurtzel also stated that he has been critical of the appointment process for Boards and Commissions, but being as transparent as possible he announced that he will be submitting his name to the Governor's Appointment Office to seek appointment to the Commission Board.  He noted that he will be posting his application on the internet and any letters or correspondence he receives from the appointment office.  He stated he does not know what information he will have access to but wants some exposure to this whole process.  Mr. Wurtzel also commended the Commission Board today and was pleased with the handling of the college policy discussion, the ALJ opinion discussion and Commissioner Wolfe bringing forth the rules and is very pleased that the Commission Board is getting involved in these important issues.

Mr. Joe Harcz relayed a belated thank you to Christine Boone who he felt had addressed a long standing accessibility issue at the Training Center including signage. He noted that there are expectations of public organizations to meet certain standards and have a certain level of accountability and openness.  NEEDS WORK

Mr. Larry Posont commented on the two fact sheets they referenced during their report and shared that these will be on the Web for anyone to access.  They analyzed PA 260 stating what the Commission was and wasn't doing and analyzed PA 260 with the Open Meetings Act which led them to judge that the Commission wasn't acting under the Open Meetings Act.  Mr. Posont thanked Director Cannon for increasing the NFB-M membership due to his actions.  He also stated that if the Board rules with the ALJ decision then they are saying that there is no need to go after direct competition.  A clear message needs to be sent and the message sent to staff is that there is no need to go after direct competition.  A lease was reissued and we need to go after it.


          Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke commended the Board on the job they have done as Commissioners including good and bad things.  She also shared her understanding of having an orderly meeting showing respect when speaking, but the same respect needs to be given back also.  Comments she has submitted in writing about the college policy have been ignored, she was barred from the original college policy committee, she submitted ideas in writing to the CIC chair and was ignored, she brought up ideas during ad hoc committees and those were ignored.  The DELEG financial form issue has never been brought up and discussed.  She also stated that she shared ideas at this meeting today about how to go about this process and this was utterly and completely ignored.  She ended by stating - if you want us to respect you, then you need to respect us.


          Mr. George Wurtzel spoke on the NFB-M a large organization in the state which has always tried to get blind people headed in the right direction.  Mr. Wurtzel stated that they have always tried to support the constituents.  The Commission Board needs to look at the consumer groups attending and sharing that they feel it is okay to shoot pellet guns at targets to improve acceptance back into their spot in the world.  In this town there are 6 bowling alleys but 16 shooting ranges which shows where the publics idea of recreation is.  Blind people have a different perspective because shooting guns isn't what blind people would normally do but we should offer that.  The consumer groups try to offer blind people as many opportunities as they can.  

Ms. Michelle Carrington asked Commissioners to walk a mile in her shoes for one day.  She stated she had been yelled at by two staff members at the Training Center at 6:40 a.m. and had been hit in the face by a door twice.  She didn't feel Commissioners could handle being blind and doing everything on their own.


          Mr. J.J. Meddaugh commended Commissioner Taeckens for being willing to speak out on consumers behalf.  The Training Center situation is appalling when you have students being told they couldn't come to this meeting and have staff that are afraid to talk about the politics for fear of being fired.  He stated the general climate of the Training Center has gone from energy to darkness.  He invited the Commission Board to come down and talk to the staff and students.


          Ms. Mary Wurtzel stated that they worked with Dr. Allen when she was Superintendent of the School for the Blind and on the Board previously and she has put in a lot of time and she should be thanked.  She is a gracious and loving woman who has faced adversity in her own life and has parented her own family along with a lot of others.  Ms. Wurtzel stated that she went to school and got a masters degree in 6 years.  She has been quiet about the college policy and the time issue and feels that the issues of today need to be dealt with.  She had no problem with technology, although there was less technology when she was in college.  The residential education that was in place played in factor in readying blind students in going to college.  There are other factors today.  


          Mr. James Chaney commented on the college policy and said there was one word missing - productivity.  If a person is being productive in college it doesn't matter how long it takes as long as a person is being productive.  There are sighted people that aren't productive and they have as much time as they need.  He ended by saying that when everything else stops growing, the mind doesn't.


          Ms. Roxanna Mann thanked the Commission for having them today.  She asked the Commissioners to take a look at the whole situation concerning the marksmanship course and the motivation for the firing.  She asked that Christine be allowed back to the Training Center.


          Mr. Terry Eagle wished he had the restraint that others have.  He stated he would like to be able to apologize for his outburst but he doesn't want to.  His reasons are that Ron Fellows and himself were not notified that this issue was coming before the Board.  Secondly his outburst regarding asking questions of the staff is fundamentally a violation of due process when the other side is not involved.  Mr. Eagle stated his outburst is diligence and passion and he is not going to apologize.  He said that although some attendees have felt threatened today, he stated I don't threaten, I promise.  His promise is for the people he serves to bring fairness and justice to blind people under the rights of the law.  His threats are not threats they are promises.  He stated that he felt Pat had let blind people down.  Lastly he said it isn't fun to go into court but if forced they will do so to keep a promise to the people that they represent.


          Ms. Chris Barnhardt said that although she is not accustomed to making public comment she felt compelled to share concerns she has heard from many individuals regarding MCB's Director Pat Cannon and his abuse of power which is hurting blind people and ruining careers.  

When Chair Pilarski asked Ms. Barnhart to not single out individuals by name, the meeting was disrupted by shouts from Fred Wurtzel, who was in the audience and not recognized to speak, which ended the meeting.      




The meeting was adjourned at 4:42 p.m.




Chair Jo Ann Pilarski



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